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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive (personal capacity)

It's rumoured that education minister Michael Gove has 'war charts' on the walls of his office plotting the onward march of academy schools.

If true, then Gove must already feel able to label some parts of the country as 'conquered territory'.

Around half of state-funded secondary schools have now broken from their elected local authorities to become privatised academies.

In areas like Bromley, Bexley, Swindon and Darlington, virtually all secondary schools are now academies.

While far fewer primary schools have academised, their future will also be in doubt once a local authority decides it can't 'afford' to run education if it has lost most of its secondaries.

Some schools have chosen to become academies, bribed by dubious promises of better funding and the chance to use their semi-independent status to boost their position in the local pecking order of schools.

No improvement

Others have been forced to become academies for failing to meet the harsh exam targets imposed by Gove.

Yet there is no evidence that academies perform any better than community schools. Is that any surprise? Since when did privatisation improve public services?

Where some academies have improved results, they have done so by using their control over admissions and exclusions to 'improve' their intake. Who will be left to look after the pupils with the greatest needs in Gove's free-for-all education marketplace?

Of course, like in the NHS, privatisation helps those who help themselves. Academies are being mopped up by growing 'chains' of education businesses.

They can't legally make a profit out of school budgets (yet!), but there are already plenty of lucrative contracts and management salaries to be secured.

While many academy chains have adopted national pay and conditions, some already impose longer working hours.

But if Gove succeeds with his plans to atomise national conditions, many academies will then feel free to do as they please.

Free schools

Gove also wants to set up thousands of privatised 'free schools' too. The Tories' vision is a future without elected councils running services like schools and housing. Unfortunately, too many Labour councils seem to be following the same path.

It's going to be up to the trade union movement and local communities to defend education from cuts and privatisation.

That will certainly need determined strike action but requires a political battle too - to elect local councillors who are prepared to fight for public services.


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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:

Fighting the cuts

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration

Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012

Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87

Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October

International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!

Socialist Party workplace news

Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

Attacks on Bromley workers

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist Party

The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

New sales of the Socialist in Kenilworth


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